Top 10 Unique Gets for 2015 Music Festivals

If you value scarcity, these are the festival acts for you.


    Where do you glance first on a lineup announcement poster? Do you try to confirm your knowledge of the headliners or zoom in trying to actually read that very bottom line? Now just lists of names and streams of logos, these artists will soon be the fuel for tens of millions of summertime tales — each colorful narrative a unique perspective on that shared experience. As the pool of talent across the festival landscape seemingly dwindles, the stories themselves begin to homogenize. So, since we support all festival attendees, from the main stage fence-hangers to the incessant stage wanderers, this list examines a selection of artists who will keep your recap (plus pics, .gifs, snaps, and vids) premium. These are the most unique festival gets of 2015 thus far.

    –Derek Staples
    Senior Staff Writer

    10. DJ Snoopadelic

    Movement Electronic Music Festival

    dj snoopadelic

    During the initial reveal process of Movement 2015, an image with a glass of gin and some orange juice surfaced, but many were weary to assume Snoop Dog would make the bill for a predominantly techno festival. Well, it looks like those on both sides of the debate were correct on this one, as it seems another of Snoop’s many aliases, DJ Snoopedelic, will be bringing the vibes to Detroit’s Hart Plaza. Whatever date that Snoop takes the stage, expect for the forecast to be overcast. And Snoop isn’t totally unaccustomed to entertaining a dance crowd; he performed at Ultra Music Festival in 2013 and even made a few special appearances. Paxahau attests that curators don’t always have to go after some elusive gem; sometimes an interesting spin on a festival favorite can be equally unique. –Derek Staples

    9. DJ Windows 98

    Buku Music + Art Project

    por Carlos Molina B.

    For those who remain unaware, DJ Windows 98 is the solo party-starting alias of Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler. Yes, the same Butler who has been known to make some rather unflatering remarks about DJ and EDM culture in the past. However, we try not to hold a grudge. Butler has a few DJ gigs on his resume, but is still a bit green behind the decks. Butler’s only revealed festival appearance of 2015 thus far, Buku slots him low in the bill, but it’s an interesting crossover between the pure club vibes of Benoit & Sergio and the likes of Passion Pit and Empire of the Sun. –Derek Staples

    8. “Weird Al” Yankovic

    Governors Ball Music Festival


    Weird Al Yankovic owned the universe for a week last summer. A music video a day every day struck the internet’s consciousness, especially since – despite being the top music-comedy act for several decades – his parodies still feel fresh, often bursting with clever but earnest mockeries and full-fledged musicianship of the highest order. And yet, he only had four tour dates all of last year, all in Hollywood; this year, as he treks across America, he only plans to stop at one major festival: Governors Ball. He’d be a unique fit at any fest – does he perform at a comedy tent? Does he headline a music stage? – but after dominating the world’s online clicks, he’s also a top get this year. –Daniel Bogosian

    7. Underworld

    Primavera Sound

    Foto: Gerrit de Heus. 1999. Underworld. Keywords: muziek, band

    Karl Hyde, Rick Smith, and Darren Price are currently on a sold-out European tour, supporting the late king of house, American Frankie Knuckles, with a special compilation, yet the trio currently behind Underworld is not on a single North American Music Festival bill. It isn’t until May 30th, when they deliver their iconic electronic vibes at Barcelona’s Primavera festival, that they make their debut festival appearance of 2015. With DJs now accepted onto main stages at most any Stateside music festival, it is truly perplexing that Underworld have yet to confirm any US dates outside of a Hollywood Bowl appearance. For all those without a passport (like myself), here’s hoping some curator is only waiting for the correct time to make the announcement. –Derek Staples

    6. Atomic Bomb! Band

    Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival


    As a twentysomething, my opportunities to see Talking Heads have been quite limited. And for anyone who has seen the legendary Stop Making Sense live performance, David Byrne and co. are definitely waiting to be checked off the bucket list. With the chances of ever seeing Talking Heads truly reunite growing more and more minute by the year, the Atomic Bomb! Band becomes the next best opportunity. Reportedly taking on the Nigerian electro-funk of William Onyeabor alongside Byrne during a performance at Bonnaroo 2015 will be Pat Mahoney of LCD Soundsystem, Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip, the band Sinkane, plus other talented guest musicians. It isn’t the Super-Jam, but for many it might be the set of the weekend. –Derek Staples

    5. Acceptance

    Skate and Surf Festival


    Acceptance were a short-lived major label pop punk that broke up in 2006 after vocalist Jason Vena reportedly got tired of “the abnormal life of a gypsy rock musician.” (The mid-2000s were a weird time, yeah?) Following Bad Timing Records’ wildly successful vinyl pressing of the band’s lone full-length, Phantoms, interest in the band returned in more than just a where-are-they-now sense. Skate and Surf, being the alternative-based festival it is, was smart to pull Acceptance into the fold. Perhaps the closest thing to a mainstream, chart-topping cult act, the band has no other dates in the fold. You can’t see them anywhere but Skate and Surf. If Acceptance are important to you, you’ll find yourself in a New Jersey parking lot this May, ready to mosh out to songs you either learned from a mixed-color vinyl or a high school mix CD. –Daniel Bogosian

    4. Björk

    Governors Ball Music Festival


    Björk’s plans for 2015 have all gone awry. Vulnicura had a two-month release plan that was burned by an early leak, and an audible had to be called to release it on iTunes 48 hours after announcement. It was supposed to be released in conjunction with an exhibit about her at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, but she has very little planned in the way of public appearances. Other than that and a string of headlining shows at New York’s City Center, the Icelandic performer has no US dates planned beyond her Governors Ball billing. The rarity of tour dates combined with her soul-baring personal album and stellar live show make the set one of a kind for the year. –Dan Bogosian

    3. Sleater-Kinney

    Primavera Sound and Pitchfork Music Festival


    Back in 2006, Sleater-Kinney closed up shop to minimal fanfare: critics pined their exit, a healthy following shed tears. Nine years later, they’ve returned to a ravenous, cross-generational mix of fans, and they’re totally delivering. Their latest album, No Cities to Love, is their most accessible work to date, a rare slice of reunion rock that’s as fresh and inspired as their salad days. In support, they’re currently on a sold-out tour that will keep Carrie Brownstein, Corin Tucker, and Janet Weiss busy until summer. And so far, the veteran riot grrls are set to pepper only two festivals — Barcelona’s Primavera Sound and Chicago’s Pitchfork Music Festival — which makes them a rather favorable gem. Sure, those indoor gigs will destroy, but new songs like “Surface Envy”, “Bury Our Friends”, and “Hey Darling” kick and snarl for buzzy summer nights. –Michael Roffman